Religious violence

To complete this set of posts is one of the most common critiques made by atheists against religion as a whole: that it promotes violence, teaches intolerance towards those who believe differently, and sanctions aggression by means of scriptural authority and heavenly blessings. All things that can’t be applied to every religion or are also true for secular and political ideologies.

To sum up what has already said in the previous posts, I believe belief is personal and morality is social, I have no dogmas and moral rules imposed by religion and do not seek to convert others. Which means I see no point in the proselytizing violence that springs so often from dogmatic faiths and that generates the atheist critiques on how religions promote hate and aggression. Actually, more then failing to see a justification, I’m against it by influence of the social morality and secular thinking I adhere to.

It should be noted, however, that ideological violence isn’t an exclusive trait of religions. Simply put, any set of ideas upheld by a group of humans is capable of being taken to an extreme and there are several examples of our modern days: think of the Soviet persecutions, the Cultural Revolution in China, or the far-right and far-left political movements, so many times taken to the point of aggressive actions. And yet, despite that, I see no atheist claiming that all political parties are violent and that all should be forbidden; rather, there’s the correct notion that things should be judge on a case by case basis instead of generalizing, exactly what should be done in matters of religion. Which brings us back to where we started.

Don’t assume all religions share the characteristics of several! If some have sacred scriptures and a claim to absolute truth, others may not. If some have dogmas, moral teachings, and condemn either gay or women’s rights, others may not! If some speak of a future where all will submit and present violence as a legitimate instrument for conversion, some may not! And every human ideology can be twisted into aggression, which is why all should be submitted to open debate and free thinking and never be judged based on examples from next door.

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2 thoughts on “Religious violence

  1. O maior problema quando se fala de religião (religiões) – e de resto é a conclusão de quase todos os posts desta excelente série – é que “por uns pagam todos”. O extremismo é levado a cabo por aqueles mesmo que o condenam, ao pensarem que todas as religiões são isto ou aquilo, sem excepções.
    É preciso mudar as mentalidades (e pouco a pouco isso vai acontecendo, não?).

    • Lentamente… talvez. De alguma forma, os extremos tocam-se e, por vezes, é difícil perceber a diferença entre a retórica do crente que defende o fim de todas as outras religiões e o descrente que defende o fim de todo o universo religioso. E as mentalidades só vão mudar a sério quando se quebrar a unanimidade ou a prevalência dos pressupostos abraamicos (o que vai levar tempo).

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